Fish by Liam Francis Walsh

Published by Roaring Brook Press 

Summary: A boy and his dog are on an unusual fishing expedition in this wordless book. Instead of fish, he pulls letters in from the sea; first an F, then an I, then an S. But the H is more elusive. As he catches and tosses back a Q, a giant C looms out of the water. Finally, there’s a tug on his hook, but it’s a pretty strong tug, and he’s pulled out of the boat, deep into the ocean, where he pulls an H from a huge swarm of letters. Safely back in the boat, the boy and his dog are ready to head for shore, but the letters have a different idea. They surround the boat, and the giant C almost capsizes them. Fortunately, the dog hangs on to the letters, and at last they are able to make a safe return. The purpose of their mission becomes clear as they approach a couple of workmen puzzling over the sign they’re hanging that reads “IN”. The FISH is what they need to create a FINISH line, just in time for the huge group of runners that’s ready to cross it.

Pros: New Yorker cartoonist Walsh has created a fun story with his comic-style black, white, red, and turquoise illustrations. Readers will enjoy the “A-ha!” moment of discovering what the FISH is really for. And the dog is pretty darn cute.

Cons: As in so many wordless books, there were some puzzling elements, like the underwater letters and the giant C. Make sure you have your imagination fired up before tackling this story.

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